Serena Verbon is 27 years old, she lives in Amsterdam and she is the owner and editor-in-chief of blog Beautylab.nl. This is a beauty blog, but sometimes Serena writes posts about fashion and lifestyle. She has a degree in biology and worked as pharmaceutist for some time after graduating — that helps her to read the products’ composition. And she really understands what it means. She has been running this blog for almost 3 years now and things are going so well that she could quit her job as a pharmaceutical technician and focus for 100% on her blog, which is her fulltime job now. At least 8 hours a day she’s photographing beauty products, filming and editing make-up tutorials or treatments, writing articles about the latest beauty trends and so on.
Beauty is important to Serena and putting on her make-up is relaxing and fun, but it’s true that beauty products are not the most important thing in the world. She likes to tell her readers that she believes ‘happy girls are the prettiest girls’ like Audrey Hepburn used to say. And Serena is also beautiful herself!
We talked to her about russian and dutch beauty trends, tricks and bloggers. Here is the result (read Russian version of the interview in Russian part of our blog).
What is the current beauty/make-up trend in Holland? And what hairstyle is trendy at the moment?
Dutch people are the most down to earth people you can find, so nothing fancy or over the top is trendy here. Ever.
Of course, the nude look has always been very popular here and for a party or in the wintertime we like to spice things up with a red or berry colored lipstick.
What I do see more often are braids. Sidebraids, fishtail braids, waterfall braids. Girls get very creative with braids nowadays and I like it!
Which beautybrands are the most popular in Holland? And why do you think that is?
Maybe it’s a cliché, but it’s kinda true that Dutch people are cheap, haha! Well, not cheap, but we like to buy products that are of good quality and at the same time affordable. Of course Dutch people buy high end make-up like Chanel, Lancome, Dior etc. but ONLY if we know it’s 100% worth it. Maybe that’s why beautyblogs are so popular here, we all check for reviews before buying!
Brands that are very affordable and of a good quality are the drugstore brands Catrice and Essence (it’s German). Most girls I know love this! Sleek Makeup (UK) is also very popular, but we can only order that online, which is a shame.
Are there a lot of beautybloggers in Holland, and can you make a living of it?
Oh I think there are like 500 Dutch beautyblogs out there, some girls/woman blog on a weekly base, others on a daily base like us. Some have a beauty blog as a hobby, others try to make a little money with it, and just a few (including me) can make a living out of it.
I consider myself blessed because I have the most amazing job in the world! I love my job. If you were wondering how I can make a living out of blogging: I earn money with advertising on my blog.
Do you keep in touch with other beautybloggers, do you meet them regularly?
With some I do, I consider them as friends and before or after a press presentation we have some drinks or go out for diner.
We see each other on a regular base, I think a few times a month. Via Twitter I chat with them almost every day.
Some as friends, some as colleages, and unfortunately, some as enemies.
Is there jealousy amongst beautybloggers? Or amongst readers (like, do you get hate mail?)
Yes with a capital Y! There is a lot of jealousy going on, which I think is a shame and not necessary at all. But only amongst beautybloggers. We all run our own business (our blog is our ‘company’) and because we make money with it, you are automatically competing with each other. Like, who has the most visitors? Who writes the best? Ugh, I don’t like the competition, but apparently it comes with the job.
I only got hatemail once, from a very crazy girl, that’s it. All of my visitors are very nice and supportive and it makes me so proud how good and loving they are to me and to other visitors.
Can you name a few old Holland natural beauty tricks for me! Like the ones your mother or grandmothers used to teach you.
Oh gosh, I don’t know if there are Dutch beauty tricks! Let me think…
Well, you can try applecider vinegar. You can use it as a spot treatment to reduce pimples, or dilute it with water and rinse your hair with it after you washed it, for extra shiny hair.
If it’s summertime, try adding some lemonjuice into your hair for natural highlights.
If you have acne, try to make a paste of 1 aspirin and a few drops of water. Add it as a spot treatment or scrub your face with it, leave it for 15 minutes and rince. If you do this once a week, your acne will reduce!
For soft skin, put pure honey to your face. Rinse with warm water after 15 minutes or so. Fel your skin. Soooooooft! ^^
Do all Holland woman take good care of their looks? They never leave the house without make-up, high heels and good clothes?
I think Holland is one of the countries where some woman go out in the same clothes they were wearing the whole day, or go out in their jeans and sneakers. Like I said, it’s all very casual here. Most of the girls change clothes and give themselves a make-up touch-up, and maybe some girls go «all the way» in high heels, miniskirt, curled hair and a make-up layer which took an hour. But no, Holland loves to look good, but you see a lot of woman without make-up and dressed very casual on the streets. You are quickly overdressed here.
Can you name a few typical Holland beauty brands that they don’t sell in Russia, but are really worth trying when I visit the Netherlands?
Yes! When you go to Kruidvat (Dutch drugstore) look for Catrice and Essence, the low-budget beauty brands. I’m not sure, but I believe Rituals doesn’t have stores in Russia, so you should definitely check out the Rituals stores because their bath & body products just smell lovely! I think the most brands we have here are also sold in Russia, but if you want to shop beauty in the Netherlands, be sure to visit: Kruidvat and Etos (drugstores). Hema (wearhouse, with homebrand beauty products). Sephora (located in some V&D which is
also a wearhouse). Douglas & Ici Paris XL (perfume/beauty stores). De Tuinen (natural beauty products) and when you’re in Amsterdam, visit the wearhouse De Bijenkorf for a beautiful beauty department with high end beauty. I think that’s it!
Who do you think is the most beautiful Holland woman? And who is the most popular it-girl of holland right now? The one that you see in every magazine and every Holland girl wants to look like her?
Doutzen Kroes! She really makes me proud to say I’m Dutch. She is just perfect. Soft skin, big blue eyes and full lips. I have a girl-crush on her!
The it-girl of the Netherlands for me is Nikkie Plessen, who is a tv host. She has a strong jawline which I like and she always wears a gorgeous pair of heels. She seems very nice and enthousiastic and has a great sense of style.